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Fleet Foxes

fleet foxes, fleet foxes tour

2016-present Labels Sub Pop US
Bella Union UK and Europe
Arts & Crafts México
Nonesuch Associated acts
  • Animal Collective
  • Pedro the Lion
  • Joanna Newsom
  • Father John Misty
  • The Blood Brothers
  • Past Lives
  • Peter Matthew Bauer
  • Dolour
  • Beach House
Website fleetfoxesco Members Robin Pecknold
Skyler Skjelset
Casey Wescott
Christian Wargo
Morgan Henderson Past members Nicholas Peterson
Craig Curran
Josh Tillman

Fleet Foxes is an American indie folk band formed in Seattle, Washington5 Their first two albums were released by the Sub Pop and Bella Union record labels, with their third by Nonesuch and Bella Union The band came to prominence in 2008 with the release of their second EP, Sun Giant, and their self-titled debut album Both received much critical praise and reviewers often noted the band's use of refined lyrics and vocal harmonies Fleet Foxes' second studio album, Helplessness Blues, was released on May 3, 2011, and their third album, Crack-Up, was released on June 16, 2017 on Nonesuch Records


  • 1 History
    • 11 Formation and early years 2006–07
    • 12 Rise to prominence 2007–08
    • 13 Second album 2009–12
    • 14 Hiatus and Crack-Up 2013–present
  • 2 Members
    • 21 Former members
    • 22 Timeline
  • 3 Discography
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links


Formation and early years 2006–07edit

Robin Pecknold and Skyler Skjelset both attended Lake Washington High School in Kirkland, a suburb of Seattle, and soon became close friends Pecknold and Skjelset bonded over a mutual appreciation of Bob Dylan and Neil Young and began making music together6 Their parents influenced their musical tastes early on—Skjelset's mother Peggi was a keen listener to both Bob Dylan and Hank Williams while Pecknold's father Greg was a member of The Fathoms, a local 1960s soul group7 The two were interested in the achievements of Dylan and Brian Wilson and realized the importance of practicing music from a young age Pecknold played bass for Seattle's Dolour on a US tour in 2005, shortly before forming the first incarnation of Fleet Foxes

Originally going by the name "The Pineapples", a name clash with another local band prompted a change and Pecknold decided upon "Fleet Foxes", suggesting that it was "evocative of some weird English activity like fox hunting"7 Pecknold took up the role of principal songwriter, both singing and playing guitar, while Skjelset played lead guitar8 Pecknold's late-sixties pop style caught the attention of the Seattle producer Phil Ek and he helped them record their first demo in 2006, the self-released Fleet Foxes EP9 Ek was impressed with the band's songwriting, and on hearing Pecknold for the first time, noted, "It was obvious he had talent coming out of his ass"6 By late 2006 the Seattle press began to take notice of the band; Tom Scanlon of the Seattle Times stated that he was impressed with the band's lyrics and musical maturity9

With growing popularity on the local circuit, the band set about making their first album in early 2007, spending time in the studio with producer Ek in addition to recording material at home However, funds for recording were tight, so the band members cobbled together what funds they had, which limited the time they had in the studio, and so the majority of the tracks were recorded in various band members' apartments, other spaces, or the basement of Pecknold's parents' house6

Rise to prominence 2007–08edit

Fleet Foxes performing in Copenhagen, 2008

Fleet Foxes were becoming increasingly popular and by late 2007, they had attracted over a quarter of a million song plays over two months on their Myspace site10 Although the band had not released any of their recordings, they benefited from word of mouth exposure and their success soon translated into a record deal, signing with Warner Music subsidiary record label Sub Pop on January 18, 200810 According to Sub Pop's A&R, Sue Busch, at the time of signing the band was still a relatively primitive set-up, being without manager or legal representation Robin's sister Aja Pecknold then assumed the role of band manager11 The band's frontman, Robin Pecknold, attributes much of their success and popularity to illegal file sharing12

The band tracked their second EP, Sun Giant, at Bear Creek Studio and performed overdubs and mixed at Seattle's Avast! Recording Co, around the same time in preparation for upcoming tours13 Fleet Foxes began their spring tour with another Northwest band Blitzen Trapper on February 28, 200814 The band's performances, first at the SXSW festival in March 2008, and then the Sasquatch! festival in May 2008, moved the band into the public consciousness, notably attracting attention from the European press for the first time7

Sun Giant was released internationally on April 8, 2008 and the group's brand of folk, rock and pop, marked by their use of vocal harmonies, was well received by the press15 Despite the warm critical reception, the group said that the EP did not represent their full ambitions, serving merely as a CD to sell while on tour16 In May 2008, the band chose to extend their North American and European tour until September in support of their forthcoming album The band grew in number as the songwriters Christian Wargo and Josh Tillman joined on guitars and drums respectively17 Their first full-length album, Fleet Foxes, was released shortly afterwards on 3 June 200818 The album achieved similar critical success as the previous EP Fleet Foxes received four out of five stars from Rolling Stone, which compared it to the likes of the Beach Boys, Animal Collective, and Crosby, Stills & Nash,19 and a 90 out of 10 in a review by Pitchfork Media, sharing the website's album of the year rank with the Sun Giant EP20 The Guardian was particularly complimentary, awarding the album five stars and declaring it "a landmark in American music — an instant classic"21 On June 24, 2008, Fleet Foxes went to No 1 on the CMJ Radio 200 Chart22 The album achieved an average rating of 87/100 from 30 critic reviews on the aggregator website Metacritic23

While the group enjoyed moderate success in the United States, Fleet Foxes was better received in Europe, selling over 200,000 copies in the five months following its release24 The sales were matched with critical plaudits and their debut album won Uncut's first ever Music Award 2008 prize25 Uncut's editor, Allan Jones, said the album "showed impeccable musicianship, and although you could trace its antecedents, it sounded totally unique Fleet Foxes was just a glorious debut" The band sold out music venues for their tours of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, reaffirming their growing popularity2426

At the end of 2008, Fleet Foxes was rated album of the year by Billboard's Critic's Choice and in Metacritic's end of year best album round-up it appeared in 17 lists, topping six of them Furthermore, it had sold over 408,000 copies in North America and over 100,000 copies in the United Kingdom, making it the first gold certificate record for UK label Bella Union27 Their growing profile enabled the band to make televised appearances, playing on Vincent Moon's La Blogotheque in December 2008 and on Saturday Night Live the following January28 In 2009, they toured in Europe to favorable reviews; the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant said their show in Paradiso induced goosebumps29 In 2008 and 2009, the band played globally ending the tour in September with a final European leg Fleet Foxes played at the Bridge School Benefit curated by Neil Young on October 24 and 25, 2009 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California This was the second time that they had supported Young after a summer bill in Hyde Park, London Fleet Foxes returned to the Way Out West Festival at which they first performed in 2008 in Gothenburg on August 12, 201130 They played at the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur on September 11, 201131 The band was chosen by Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel to perform at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival that he curated in December 2011 in Minehead, England32

Second album 2009–12edit

Main article: Helplessness Blues Fleet Foxes performing at the 2009 Coachella Festival

Pecknold said that he would have liked the album to be released in 2009; however, the band's touring schedule delayed rehearsals of the new songs until February 2009 These sessions took place in a rented house outside Seattle, but were mostly scrapped, losing the band $60,000 of their own money Further delays ensued because the drummer, Tillman, was scheduled to play a solo tour in Europe and North America throughout the 2009–10 winter Pecknold later sent some demos to producer Phil Ek and expressed the hope that the second LP would emerge in late 2010

In December 2009, Pecknold said he wanted the new LP to sound "less poppy, less upbeat and more groove-based" He referenced the 12-string guitar sound from Roy Harper's folk album Stormcock, saying, "That will be the primary sonic distancing from the last record" He wanted the band to record very quickly, with "vocal takes in one go, so even if there are fuck-ups, I want them to be on there I want there to be guitar mistakes I want there to be not totally flawless vocals I want to record it and have that kind of cohesive sound Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, to me, is the best-sounding album because it sounds like there were only six hours in the universe for that album to be recorded in So I want it to have that feeling"33 The band eventually began recording in April 2010 in various locations including West Hurley, New York and decided to scrap the earlier idea of a fast recording though according to the band many of the initial vocals were done in one take The album features a new six-piece band line up, with the addition of the former Blood Brothers bassist Morgan Henderson on upright bass and woodwind instruments34

The album, Helplessness Blues, was released on May 3, 2011 with a cover illustrated by the Seattle artist Toby Liebowitz and painted by Christopher Alderson35 The title track was released via free download on January 31, 2011, and the album's fourth track, "Battery Kinzie", was premiered in the UK on Zane Lowe's radio show on March 22, 2011 The Sub Pop record label released a downloadable music video of the track "Grown Ocean", with footage of the album's recording, on its website in support of the album A 12" vinyl double A-side single of "Helplessness Blues" and "Grown Ocean" was released for Record Store Day on April 16, 2011 On November 1, 2011, Pecknold's brother, Sean Pecknold, released the official music video for "The Shrine / An Argument"36

On January 18, 2012, drummer Tillman announced that he had left the band37 He would go on to reinvent himself and record several albums as Father John Misty, notable for his ironic sense of humor in lyrics and media as well as often criticizing both the record industry and society in interviews and on stage

Helplessness Blues was nominated Best Folk Album at the 2012 Grammy Awards, held February 12, 2012

Hiatus and Crack-Up 2013–presentedit

On June 15, 2013, an image of a home recording set-up–including a laptop computer, microphone and guitar–was posted on the Fleet Foxes Facebook page with the caption "Step one"38 On June 16, 2013, an image of a broken mandolin with the caption "Step two" was posted39 These images were later deleted, but led to speculation that the group was working on a new project, possibly a third studio album3839 On April 23, 2014, Robin Pecknold posted to the band's Facebook page that he had moved to New York to get his undergraduate degree at the Columbia University School of General Studies, a liberal arts college of Columbia University in New York City40

On May 18, 2016, while answering fan questions on his Instagram account, Pecknold confirmed that Fleet Foxes was working on new material with drummer and frequent collaborator Neal Morgan, best known for his work with Joanna Newsom and Bill Callahan Describing Morgan as a "full Fox", Pecknold also admitted he "had to up my songwriting game for homeboy" However, when Pecknold posted a photo of the band minus Morgan on Instagram, he clarified that Morgan was one of three drummers involved in the new album, and that for the time being Fleet Foxes would consist of Pecknold, Skjelset, Wescott, Wargo and Henderson as a "five-piece 'core band'", but they would still use a drummer for live performances and additional musicians for certain shows41 Pecknold also said that the new material would be "a different vibe" compared to Fleet Foxes' previous output42 On November 14, 2016, the band confirmed via their Facebook account that their new album was nearly complete43

On December 25, 2016, Pecknold posted a photo on his Instagram account which showed four albums in the Fleet Foxes' queue in his iTunes library: the first studio album Fleet Foxes; the Sun Giant EP; the second studio album Helplessness Blues; and an unknown third album entitled Ylajali44 This led to speculation that the band's third album would: 1 be named after a character from Knut Hamsun's novel Hunger; 2 contain a photo from Japanese photographer Hiroshi Hamaya as the cover art; and 3 be released through Nonesuch Records, since the label's logo can be seen on the album cover44

In an email newsletter on January 1, 2017, production company Mason Jar Music confirmed that Fleet Foxes was working on a new album, since they contributed to the production45 The album was called Crack-Up, after an F Scott Fitzgerald essay of the same name The album is a concept album and was recorded at Electric Lady Studios and Sear Sound in New York City

On March 7, 2017, Fleet Foxes announced their third studio album, Crack-Up, released on June 16, 2017 via Nonesuch Records, a new label for the band The lead single, "Third of May / Ōdaigahara", was released the same day46 On April 4, 2017, the band posted on YouTube the album trailer for the new album The trailer briefly presents various songs from the album and shows some images while they were recording them The video was made by Sean Pecknold, Robin's brother47

On May 15, 2017, Fleet Foxes made their live return at the Wilma Theatre in Missoula, in which they performed nine songs from Crack-Up along with a selection of older material and a cover of "In the Morning" by Bee Gees48 The band's current live line-up includes Matt Barrick of The Walkmen,49 who is also one of the three drummers that contributed to Crack-Up


Fleet Foxes performing in Seattle, 2008
  • Robin Pecknold – lead vocals, guitar 2006–present
  • Skyler Skjelset – guitar, mandolin, vocals 2006–present
  • Casey Wescott – keyboards, mandolin, vocals 2006–present
  • Christian Wargo – bass guitar, guitar, vocals 2008–present
  • Morgan Henderson – upright bass, guitar, woodwinds, violin, percussion, saxophone 2010–present

Former membersedit

  • Bryn Lumsden – bass guitar 2006
  • Craig Curran – bass guitar 2006–2008
  • Nicholas Peterson – drums, percussion, vocals 2006–2008
  • Josh Tillman – drums, percussion, vocals 2008–2012



Main article: Fleet Foxes discography
  • Fleet Foxes 2008
  • Helplessness Blues 2011
  • Crack-Up 2017


  1. ^ a b Biography by Timothy Monger "Fleet Foxes | Biography & History" AllMusic Retrieved 2017-06-19 
  2. ^ Perry, Adam 2008-10-09 "The Fleet Foxes hit a soft spot with their pastoral brand of baroque pop" Westword Retrieved 2017-06-19 
  3. ^ 1 The Guardian
  4. ^ Weiner, Jonah 2017-06-07 "Fleet Foxes' Robin Pecknold on College, 'Crack-Up'" Rolling Stone Retrieved 2017-06-19 
  5. ^ Matson, Andrew "Seattle's Fleet Foxes poised to sprint with new album", The Seattle Times, 30 April 2011, accessed 19 June 2011
  6. ^ a b c Scaggs, Austin 13 November 2008 "Fleet Foxes' Perfect Harmony" Rolling Stone Retrieved 1 December 2008 
  7. ^ a b c James, McNair 13 June 2008 "On the hunt for meaning with Seattle band Fleet Foxes" The Independent Retrieved 1 December 2008 
  8. ^ "Fleet Foxes Expand Seattle Sound", Seattle magazine
  9. ^ a b Scanlon, Tom 22 September 2006 "Fleet Foxes sing it their way" Seattle Times Retrieved 3 December 2008 
  10. ^ a b Lester, Paul 11 February 2008 "No 272: Fleet Foxes" The Guardian Retrieved 3 December 2008 
  11. ^ "Interview With Fleet Foxes A&R Sue Busch", HitQuarters, 4 May 2009
  12. ^ Youngs, Ian 12 June 2009 "Entertainment | Bands 'better because of piracy'" BBC News Retrieved 5 July 2010 
  13. ^ Pecknold, Aja 18 January 2008 "It's Official: Fleet Foxes Sign with Sub Pop" Seattle Weekly Retrieved 3 December 2008 
  14. ^ Seling, Megan "Billboardcom on Fleet Foxes" Billboard Retrieved 2 March 2008 
  15. ^ Phares, Heather "Sun Giant EP Review" Allmusic Retrieved 3 December 2008 
  16. ^ Gill, Andy 25 April 2008 "Album: Fleet Foxes, Sun Giant Bella Union" The Independent Retrieved 3 December 2008 
  17. ^ Mason-Campbell, Nilina 2 May 2008 "Fleet Foxes Add New Member, More Tour Dates" Pitchfork Media Retrieved 3 December 2008 
  18. ^ Phares, Heather "Fleet Foxes Review" Allmusic Retrieved 3 December 2008 
  19. ^ Hermes, Will 12 June 2008 "Fleet Foxes" Rolling Stone Retrieved 27 November 2008 
  20. ^ Deusner, Stephen M "Fleet Foxes LP Review" Pitchfork Media Retrieved 6 June 2008 
  21. ^ Simpson, Dave 30 May 2008 "Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes" The Guardian Retrieved 3 December 2008 
  22. ^ Shaer, Matthew 11 July 2008 "Let the light in: With their self-titled debut, Fleet Foxes are putting a new shine on folk music" The Boston Globe Retrieved 27 November 2008 
  23. ^ "Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes" Metacritic 3 December 2008 Retrieved 3 December 2008 
  24. ^ a b Swash, Rosie 17 November 2008 "Fleet Foxes' coup signals folk revival" The Guardian Retrieved 3 December 2008 
  25. ^ "Uncut Music Award winner revealed" Uncut Retrieved 3 December 2008 
  26. ^ Sauma, Luiza 7 December 2008 "Fleet Foxes: Are a hairy bunch of young folk-rockers inventing a new sound of Seattle", The Independent Retrieved on 19 January 2009
  27. ^ Paine, Andre 23 December 2008 "Fleet Foxes Go Gold In United Kingdom" Billboard Retrieved on 29 January 2009
  28. ^ "La Blogotheque Show Ep1" Current TV 10 December 2008 Retrieved 23 December 2008 
  29. ^ Kamer, Gijsbert 2 July 2009 "Kippenvel bij optreden Fleet Foxes in Paradiso" De Volkskrant Retrieved 2 July 2009 
  30. ^ Gustafsson, Fredrik 22 January 2011 "Robyn and Fleet Foxes Headline Way Out West" WelcheMusic Retrieved 22 January 2011
  31. ^ "Fleet Foxes, September 11, 2011" Archived from the original on June 23, 2011 Retrieved 20 June 2011 
  32. ^ ATP curated by Jeff Mangum
  33. ^ Michaels, Sean 7 December 2009 "Fleet Foxes Recording 'Pretty Boring' Second Album" The Guardian London Retrieved 14 December 2013 
  34. ^ Hay, Travis "Fleet Foxes add a Blood Brother for sixth member" Guerilla Candy, 17 April 2011
  35. ^ Alissa 31 January 2011 "Fleet Foxes Announce Second Album, Helplessness Bblues, Pre-Order Now" Sub Pop Records 
  36. ^ Murray, Robin 25 October 2011 "Watch: Fleet Foxes - The Shrine / An Argument" Clash Retrieved 25 October 2011 
  37. ^ Pelly, Jenn "J Tillman Leaves Fleet Foxes, Other Members Form New Band Poor Moon" Pitchfork, 19 January 2012
  38. ^ a b Fleet Foxes ""Step One"" Fleet Foxes Retrieved 11 July 2013 
  39. ^ a b Fleet Foxes ""Step One"" Fleet Foxes Retrieved 11 July 2013 
  40. ^ Minsker, Evan April 23, 2014 "Robin Pecknold Explains Fleet Foxes Hiatus" Pitchfork Retrieved 28 May 2015 
  41. ^ Pecknold, Robin 2017-02-17 "Shawn Brackbill" Instagram Retrieved 2017-06-08 
  42. ^ Pecknold, Robin 2016-05-18 "No-Self-y" Instagram Retrieved 2017-06-08 
  43. ^ "Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes updated their cover photo | Facebook" wwwfacebookcom Retrieved 2016-11-22 
  44. ^ a b Rettig, James 2016-12-25 "Fleet Foxes Announce LP3 Ylajali, Cover Art, New Label" Stereogum Retrieved 2016-12-25 
  45. ^ "New Fleet Foxes Album" Mason Jar Music Newsletter 1 January 2017 – via Email 
  46. ^ Leight, Elias 2017-03-07 "Fleet Foxes Preview First LP in Six Years With Epic New Song" Rolling Stone Retrieved 2017-03-07 
  47. ^ "Fleet Foxes - Crack-Up Album Trailer" YouTube 2017-04-04 Retrieved 2017-04-04 
  48. ^ Walsh, Cory 2017-05-16 "Fleet Foxes make bracing return to live performance at Missoula concert" Missoulian Retrieved 2017-06-08 
  49. ^ Singer, Matthew 2017-05-19 "Fleet Foxes Make a Tentative Comeback at Crystal Ballroom" Willamette Week Retrieved 2017-06-08 

External linksedit

  • Official website
  • Fleet Foxes at Nonesuch Records
  • Official Facebook
  • Official Instagram
  • Official YouTube

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